- “Wow, you’ve traveled so many places! Good idea. That’s smart of you to do it while you’re young, before you have kids and a mortgage.”
- “I’m so envious that you’ve been to so many countries. You must have learned so much.”
- “That’s so brave and courageous of you to travel alone! I would be too scared.”
These are just a few examples of the things people say when I tell them about how I spent the first 3 years after college living in 4 different states and backpacking throughout 15 different countries.
And I like it when I hear them. It makes me feel validated.
But where are those people when I’m trying to settle down and look for a job? Are those people hiring? Because the hundreds of companies I’ve applied to don’t seem too thrilled on the idea.
Let me break this down for you. In May of 2018 I packed up all of my belongings into my Subaru and trekked, once more, to another state. This time it was to the east coast — New Jersey. And it was for a boy.
For most, this would seem like a crazy idea, but for me, it was just another experience. Another chance to say “yes” to something new. As to be expected, I’ve heard, “But Skye. You’re moving for a boy? What if you break up??” And to that, I simply reply, “Then I move somewhere else.” You see, moving will always be stressful and come with its own set of challenges, but once you learn how possible it is to do, it becomes a lot less scary. And the beautiful thing about moving is you can always go home. How will you know where you want to be if you don’t see where there is to go?
Okay, I’ve gotten a bit off track. Scene set: I moved to New Jersey in May, I got a temporary restaurant job for the summer, and my new guy and I were living together in a summer sublet.
Did I just say me and this new beautiful stranger were living together? Yup. And whatever you’re thinking is probably right. We moved in together out of convenience, but that’s not to say it didn’t come with its own challenges. It had its ups and downs, but by the end of the summer we decided this was something we wanted to keep doing.
Insert 1 month trip to Europe in August 2018 here.
After Europe, we decided to get our own place together. And just like that, we signed a 1 year lease to our apartment and our relationship. During these past few years, I didn’t focus on starting my career because I knew I would just have to quit when I went traveling again. But once I decided to stay in New Jersey for a while, I knew it was time to settle down and start my career. If only it were that easy. If only I were warned that it would be a soul-sucking, depressing journey where I doubted all of my life choices. This might sound a bit dramatic, but if you’ve gone through the struggle of finding a job, you’ll know that I’m being 100%.
In college, I lucked into a great digital marketing internship where I learned the ins and outs of the marketing world — as much as you can learn in 18 months anyway. And then, during my travels, I picked up different restaurant jobs which are incredibly easy to get. Due to these life experiences, I always thought getting a job was easy. Which I guess is partly true.
But getting a career isn’t easy.
600 words in and we’re finally getting to the part you came here for.
From July 2018 (when I decided I’ll be staying here) to December 2018, I applied for jobs. Hundreds of them. Anything involving digital marketing or copy writing. With many of those job applications, I had to research the company and complete a company-specific cover letter and resume. I revamped my resume at least 10 times, and I even sought out the help of a resume specialist for some pointers. Finding a job had become a full-time job. Hearing “no” after “no” was disheartening, and hearing no reply to an application was even worse. Although I thought each interview went well, the consistent response I got was “You seem like a great fit, I’m just not sure if your previous experience is relevant anymore because you took so much time off to travel.”
But what about all of those people saying it was the right choice? Where are my supporters now? So many people said traveling young was the right thing to do, but then they used it against me when choosing not to hire me.
And I don’t blame them. Why would they choose me over someone with more recent marketing experience? But this made me doubt my choices. Growing up, I had a vision for my life which involved starting a career right out of college. Was I wrong in choosing a different path?
By the end of October, after numerous failed interviews, I realized I couldn’t financially afford to do this full-time anymore. I had to cave in and get, yet another, restaurant job. I had also come into the world of freelance brand ambassador work, so I was able to make money that way as well.
This didn’t mean my search was over, it just meant it had to slow down a bit.
A couple weeks into my new restaurant job, a staffing agency contacted me about a Program Manager position with a marketing company. I didn’t realize I even applied for a staffing agency, it was one of those things that just sort of slipped through the cracks of my applications. And if I’m being honest, I didn’t even know how staffing agencies worked.
After going over job-specifics with the recruiter, I interviewed with the company, and to my surprise I got the job! It paid like dog-poo so I had to keep my other two jobs, but it was a step in the right direction.
I had no idea what I was doing.
Just as with most things, I jumped blindly into a new opportunity which I knew practically nothing about. I had no idea what it meant to be a program manager, I just knew the potential career growth it offered, based on my Glassdoor research. Thankfully the company provided training, but every day I came up with a hundred new questions on how to do something. It was like nothing I had ever done professionally before, and it was another chance to learn and grow.
The goal with this company was a temp-to-perm situation. Supposedly the company typically hires temps to work full-time after about 3-6 months of temping. And that was my goal. Or so I thought. It wasn’t my passion, but at least it was something.
Nearly two months into my temp job, I got a lead on a full-time copywriter position in New York City, which I had applied for back in early October. They wanted me for an interview, and I am pleased to say that it went well. Beginning in January 2019, I started as a full-time staff writer for Business.com and Business News Daily.
My first real job!
Although I miss my coworkers at my program manager job, I am beyond ecstatic to have my first real full-time career-focused job. It took over 5 months of job applications and failed interviews. Over 5 months of stress and tears. Over 5 months of disappointment and feeling like I’m not good enough.
Over 5 months of feeling like my travels were a mistake — and then immediately hating myself for thinking that.
Although my newest adventure will be unlike the past 3 years of my life, I am happy and excited to be on it. And what’s even better? It’s a job that allows Work-From-Home 3 days a week, and unlimited PTO.
Who said my travels have to stop?
PS. The boyfriend and I are still together.
I know this lengthy post wasn’t as exciting as my travels, but I wanted to share my recent experience because I’m sure someone can relate. Also, I haven’t posted on here in over a year! *gasp*
Thanks for reading.